Type: Book

Advances in measuring soil health


Dr Wilfred Otten is Professor of Soil Biophysics at Cranfield University, UK. He is incoming President of the British Soil Science Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Science and is a member of the organising committee for the forthcoming World Congress on Soil Science in 2022. Professor Otten is internationally-renowned for his research on measuring and modelling physical, chemical and microbial processes in soil.



Publication date:

25 May 2021

Length of book:

420 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786764263

Hardback - £180.00
Request Permissions


Understanding and measuring the different dimensions of soil health is key to achieving regenerative agriculture. There has been a wealth of research on developing better analytical techniques to measure the biological, physical and chemical properties of soils.

Advances in measuring soil health reviews these developments and their implications for better management of farm soils. The volume begins by reviewing advances in measuring soil biological activity such as earthworms and fungi as indicators of soil health. The collection also surveys developments in measuring soil physical properties through advances in visual, imaging and geophysical techniques, as well as the methods used to measure chemical properties such as soil organic carbon. It concludes by looking at how measurement can be translated into farming practice through soil health indicators and decision support systems.

With its distinguished editor and expert authors, Advances in measuring soil health will be a standard reference for university and other researchers in soil and crop science, government and other agencies responsible for the health of agricultural soils, companies providing soil monitoring services, and farmers wishing to know more about the latest developments in soil monitoring.

Key features

  • Comprehensive overview of key advances in measuring soil biological, physical and chemical properties 
  • Particularly strong coverage of developments in measuring soil biological activity, including molecular techniques such as next-generation sequencing as well as improvements in measuring fauna such as earthworms, microbial and fungal communities 
  • Focus on ways of using analytical techniques in practice through the use of soil health indicators and decision support systems (DSS)

What others are saying...

“Soil health is an equivocal concept that takes on different meanings depending on the application and the investigator. The proposed content of this comprehensive volume will give more meaning to ‘soil health’, bringing together a range of measurement approaches, modelling and decision support tools, with an ultimate aim to improve soils.”Prof. Paul Hallett, University of Aberdeen, UK

Table of contents

Part 1 Measuring soil biological activity
1.Assessing soil health by measuring fauna: Felicity Crotty, Royal Agricultural University, UK;
2.Quantifying earthworm species as indicators of soil health: Jackie Stroud, Rothamsted Research, UK;
3.Quantification of fungi and fungal traits in soil: Andy Taylor, James Hutton Institute, UK;

Part 2 Measuring soil physical and chemical properties
4.Advances in visual techniques to assess soil structure: Mansonia Pulido, Aarhus University, Denmark;
5.Imaging soil structure to measure soil functions and soil health: Sasha Kravchenko, Michigan State University, USA;
6.Geophysical methods to assess soil physical conditions: Richard Whalley, Rothamsted Research, UK;
7.Advances in techniques to assess soil erodibility: Jane Rickson, Cranfield University, UK;
8.Advances in measuring mechanical properties of soils in relation to soil health: Muhammad Naveed, University of West London, UK;
9.Advances in instrumental techniques to assess soil chemistry: Francisco Calderon, USDA-ARS, USA;
10.Spectral mapping of soil organic carbon: Bas van Wesemael, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium;

Part 3 From measurement to management
11.Developing soil health indicators for improved farm soil management: Elizabeth Stockdale, Head of Farming Systems - NIAB, UK;
12.Developing decision support systems for farm, soil management: Matt Aitkenhead, James Hutton Institute, UK;